Week educates campus about Haiti
Anna Boarini | Monday, March 26, 2012
This week, several Notre Dame campus organizations will hold a variety of events in support of Haiti Awareness Week and the work the University does in the poverty-stricken Caribbean nation.
Sponsored by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Haiti Working Group, Friends of the Orphans, the Notre Dame Haiti Program, ND Fighting NTDs and ND-8, Haiti Awareness Week will feature cultural events, lectures on development and a conference focused on the country’s unique issues.
Senior Megan Stoffer, leader of the Haiti Working Group, said this week allows all Haiti-focused campus groups to collaborate and share the work they do with each other.
“This week, ND Fighting NTDs is having a TOMS shoe giveaway, and Friends of the Orphans is having sign-ups for a 24-hour fast next week to benefit an orphanage,” she said.
ND-8, the student organization that works toward achieving the Millennium Development goals, will help promote greater understanding about microfinance and the tourism industry in Haiti, Stoffer said.
The Kellogg Institute’s Haiti Working Group is also collaborating with the other groups on campus to sponsor lecturers and other events throughout the week, Stoffer said.
She said the week’s most important event is Saturday’s Haiti Working Group Conference, titled “Transforming Dialogue into Action: Passion with a Purpose in Haiti.” The conference will feature perspectives from Catholic Relief Services representatives, InterVol and the Notre Dame Haiti Program, among others.
“The Haiti [Working Group] Conference is bringing together a bunch of Midwestern colleges with Haiti groups, and there will be a lecture from a doctor who goes to Haiti and discussion [about it],” she said. “There will be a panel discussion geared towards how students can be effective with the aid and development they get involved in.”
Senior Tania Mathurin, a member of the Haiti Working Group, said she thinks this week is an excellent way to educate Notre Dame students about the ongoing issues and problems in Haiti.
“I’m actually Haitian, and I heard about the Haiti Working Group after being abroad,” she said. “I got interested in some of the things they were doing and think it is a great way to show the culture and teach students more about Haiti.”
Mathurin said she is very excited about the conference because it presents an opportunity to educate the public about development and aid in Haiti, as well as elements of Haitian culture, including a concert by the Chicago-based Haitian group D-Lux.
“This is a great way not only to learn but also to learn more about effective ways to do development and aid,” she said. “I’m also really looking forward to the Haitian band that’s playing at the conference. It will be different and exciting.